By on February 28, 2020

The Toyota 2000GT’s been a legend for decades now. A simple mention of its name conjures up the correct silhouette. Eyes glaze over at the gentle curves, classic sports coupe proportions, and the big front lamps trapped behind plexiglass.

Today we’ll dig a little deeper into this legend.

Toyota needed a bit of help when it came to sports cars, as the company had a singular such vehicle under its belt: the microscopic 800 Sports Coupe. Keeping its first-ever sports car in mind, Toyota wondered how it might do something more. At this point Nissan enters, stage left.

Nissan hired Yamaha to take the lead on a new sports car design. The two companies had worked together before, and in those days Yamaha made a business out of making designs for other Japanese manufacturers. Nissan’s request? A 2000GT. Yamaha got to work and built a prototype. The forward-thinking brass at Nissan declined the design, preferring to move on to other ideas. Left with the unsold prototype, Yamaha approached the conservative suits at Toyota.

“No, but that’s an interesting idea,” they said. With that, Toyota accepted the 2000GT proposal in an attempt to shake off the company’s stodgy image. With the original Nissan 2000GT prototype junked, design work started anew, this time lead by Toyota. Satoru Nozaki penned the new shape of the 2000GT, and the rest of the project proceeded jointly at Yamaha and Toyota.

A show car debuted at the 1965 Tokyo Motor Show, entering production at the Yamaha factory in 1967. The sleek coupe had pop-up headlights in addition to the large driving lamps, almost no bumpers, and sat at under 46 inches in total height. Aiming for European competition like Porsche, Toyota didn’t skimp on the interior. A comfortable place, there was a rosewood dash, a fancy radio, and nice seats. Very late-run models had a slightly revised interior, with air conditioning and an optional automatic transmission.

The majority of models came fitted with a 2.0-liter inline-six from the Toyota Crown, massaged by Yamaha. The company attached a couple of new Mikuni-Solex two-barrel carbs, plus a new dual overhead cam. 148 horsepower traveled to the rear via a five-speed manual. A special run of nine cars coded “MF-12” had a larger 2.3-liter engine with a lower output. Also derived from the Crown, it used a single overhead cam and produced around 115 horsepower. Top speed was 135 miles an hour in the more powerful version.

Always intended as a limited-run vehicle, the 2000GT’s production lasted for three years, during which just 351 examples were produced. In 1967 it asked $6,800 in the U.S., or around $53,300 today. Around 60 were sold in North America, and as a halo model Toyota lost money on each one.

Today’s Rare Ride was formerly owned by racing driver Otto Linton, and restored to original condition in Maine. It goes on sale May 1, 2020 as part of the Elkhart Collection. 2000GTs usually go for over $1 million.

(H/t to commenter FreedMike for pointing out this Rare Ride.)

[Images: seller]

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17 Comments on “Rare Rides: The Extremely Valuable 1967 Toyota 2000GT...”

  • avatar

    So very lovely – I see part Ferrari, part Opel GT, part Corvette, and even some Jaguar (that long hood!).

  • avatar

    Very pretty except for the fog lights. One wonders why Nissan rejected it. Then, I remembered that Nissan introduced the 240Z a couple of years later for half the price. The Toyota became a classic but, unlike the Z series, it wasn’t a commercial success.

    • 0 avatar

      As soon as you see one of these, the 240Z suddenly looks like a discount knockoff.

      • 0 avatar

        Its all relative. The 2000GT sold for about $7200 in 1967 in the States, the 240-Z sold in 1970 for $3600 if your dealer didn’t gouge you with a markup. $7200 in ’67 would have gotten you any new Corvette, with change left over, or a Mercedes-Benz 250SL, or Jaguar E-Type. Nowadays, a very nice Datsun 240-Z is $25000 and the 2000GT, as posted before, goes for $1M plus, if you can find one for sale. I don’t think the sight of the 2000GT in any way cheapens the 240-Z by comparison. Also, the cockpit of the 240-Z is designed for American-size drivers, the 2000GT was designed for the smaller stature of most Japanese drivers. I tried a 2000GT out in 1967 and found that out. All things being equal, you’d be happy in either car, I’m sure.

    • 0 avatar
      bumpy ii

      I know everyone loves these, but I think the visual balance is too far rearward and the Z had better proportions. I’d also rather have a Z432, but those aren’t exactly affordable either.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Exceptional – a great rare find!

  • avatar

    These go for over $1 million at auctions.

  • avatar

    Beautiful! I’m a Toyota guy and almost lifelong owner of Toyota products. Shades of the new Supra also from this past design.

  • avatar
    johnny ro

    If I could I would pay the million for one of these in appropriate condition. I bet most are near museum quality by now. I believe I may not fit in it, being 6 feet tall and not skinny. I will probably never find out.

    I am surprised I am not aware of kit car versions for only $100k.

  • avatar

    An E-type Jag by any other name would look as sweet.

  • avatar
    Art Vandelay

    So they can style a car like this…I had forgotten given how the new Supra looks.

  • avatar

    I’ve seen two of these. The first was in a garage on a property in Brooklyn, about 30 years ago. It was on flat tires, and covered in that grey dust that collects when a car sits for years. Even then, it was special and cried to be rescued.

    The second one was recently at the Toyota Museum in Japan. The engine and car all have classic lines. I cannot, for the life of me, understand why Toyota can do this, but contracts out to BMW for the current Supra. In a money no object car collection, there would be one of these.

    • 0 avatar

      If Toyota completely built their own Supra, would you buy one? Given that the only six in their current lineup is a V rather than inline, what would the reception be to using that (not great, I imagine)? Would a Toyota-built Supra help them sell more Camrys and RAV4s? The 370Z is a pretty okay sports car, certainly great value, and completely Nissan, and absolutely no one buys one anymore. Couple in the safety and emissions requirements that Toyota didn’t have to contend with 55 years ago (or 30ish years ago when designing the MkIV), and basically the only business case for any Supra is “make Akio Toyoda happy.”

  • avatar

    My first reaction upon seeing the car was “Toyota didn’t design it”. Turns out Yamaha did. WTF didn’t Yamaha design more vehicles???

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